MEDIA RELEASE: PUBLIC INVITATION
Mayor Karen Best and Branson Fire Department Invite Citizens to Participate in ‘Wet Down Ceremony’ to Commission the New $595K KME Engine
Branson, MO (Tuesday, January 3, 2017) – The ‘Wet-Down’ tradition dates back to the late 1800’s when horse drawn pumpers were used throughout the nation’s fire service. Horses commissioned for fire service were washed along with the pumper at their newly assigned firehouse and backed into the firehouse bay. Local clergy came to bestow blessings upon the horse by throwing holy water on it symbolizing long life, strength, speed and good health. The firefighters would then fit the new horse with its harness, placing the company in service. After every run, firefighters hand pushed their pumpers back into the bay and made themselves ready for the next alarm. The City of Branson honors this tradition today as it commissions new engines for the Branson Fire Department.
Mayor Karen Best along with the Branson Fire Department invite the public to participate in a modern day ‘Wet-Down Ceremony’ as the City of Branson commissions its new $595,000 2016 KME fire engine at 1:00PM on Saturday, January 7, 2017.
Along with City of Branson leadership, employees, business leaders and other community stakeholders, Branson Firefighters will ‘wet down” the new Fire Engine 3 by anointing it with water sprayed from the 13-year old fire engine it will replace, followed by a blessing by a fire department chaplain. Firefighters will then physically push the engine into its bay where it will be placed in service at Fire Station #3 and ready for its first fire rescue call. City of Branson Mayor Karen Best will affix the license plate to the new engine, and 100 commemorative towels will be distributed to attendees to help dry the engine. Refreshments will also be served immediately following this short ceremony.
The ‘Wet-Down Ceremony’ will be held at Branson Fire Station #3, 3500 Keeter Street in Branson. This station will be the permanent home of the new engine and is that which protects areas along and adjacent to the popular West Highway 76 corridor, home to a multitude of live entertainment venues, family attractions and theme parks.
At a price tag of $595,000 approved by Board of Alderman in 2015, the 2016 KME engine has been delivered to its new Branson home and awaits its welcome by community at Station #3. Outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and radios, it boasts a Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine, Hale DSD pump capable of delivering 1,500 gallons of water per minute, a UPF Poly 500-gallon tank, an enclosed cab for five personnel, a fire hose and firefighting and rescue equipment including the “jaws of life.” Such engines allow firefighters to respond to a diverse call load ranging from fires to auto extrications and other forms of technical rescue.
Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin will compare the modern-engine amenities to those of the City of Branson’s original 1937 Dodge Pump 3 engine, the third motorized engine owned by the City. The original Pump 3 could deliver approximately 500 gallons of water per minute and was outfitted only with a fire hose and an open cab that sat two personnel since firefighters in those days would ride “tailboard.”
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Media inquiries related to this content may be directed to Jennifer Langford, Communications Manager, City of Branson at JLangford@BransonMO.gov or by calling 417.337.0017.
About the Branson Fire Department:
Organized in the early 1900’s, the Branson Fire Department provides high quality, cost effective fire-rescue operations, risk reduction services, and emergency preparedness to the Branson Community. In the mid 1950's, a Rural Fire Service was established known as the Branson / Rockaway Fire Protection District. As the city and district grew larger, that district was split into two departments known today as the Western Taney County Fire Protection District and the Branson Fire Department / Branson Fire and Rescue. The Branson Fire Department was a volunteer department until 1993 when six career personnel were hired, increasing personnel to a total of nine firefighters in 1995. In late 1996, Station #2 opened and nine more personnel were added, followed by the opening of Station #3 in 1999 with an additional nine personnel. The City of Branson obtained its first motorized apparatus in 1927, and still owns the third engine acquired – the original motorized 1937 Dodge Pump 3 Engine often appearing in community events and parades.
About the City of Branson, Missouri:
Located in Southwest Missouri, the City of Branson is committed to its citizens and to those who visit here, to ensure a safe and environmentally sound community. We will work as a team to maintain and promote the growth of our City, and to provide professional, courteous service to all through fair and open communication. We look to tomorrow, remembering yesterday, dedicated to excellence today.